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The Sydney Bushwalker

Established June 1931

A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Cahill Community Cenire (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Ann Ravn, telephone 798-8607.

EditorEvelyn Walker, 158 Evans Street, Rozelle, 2039. Telephone 827-3695.
Business ManagerBill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207.
Production Manager Helen Gray
Typist Kath Brown
Duplicator OperatorPhil Butt

August 1983

The Franklin River Verdict by Jim Brown 2
Social Notes for September 2
Arthur and Us - Part I Bill Gamble 3
For the Love of the-South-West Peter Harris 6
Notes of the June & July General Meetings Barry Wallace 6
Letter to the Editor Dorothy Lawrie 9
Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre 10
Trekking Through the McPherson Ranges, Part II Wal LIddle 11
Bush Walkers and the Big Bang Jim Brown 15
Continuing Education Programme, University of Sydney 16
Notice - Bushwalkers Ball 1983 17
Notice of the Half-Yearly General Meeting Barbara Bruce 18

The Franklin River Verdict

(13th July, 1983) by Jim Brown

The Wise Men sat in judgement and they found
By slim majority of four to three
The action by the Commonwealth was sound:
On sundry points some chose to disagree.
(But have they seen dawn's flush on Tuglow Falls?
Or lived a sunset at Kanangra Walls?)
The Wise Men sat in judgement and they found
According to the Law…..and nothing more.
And they could not do else. What slender ground
For saving treasures no-one could restore.
(They can't have heard bush rivers in the night,
Or walked the Budawangs in stormy light.)
The Franklin has been spared. But some States say
The ruling makes the Commonwealth too strong;
While we applaud it - yet with some dismay -
The verdict's right - but were the reasons wrong?
(For do they know the lonely and the wild?
Or feel the hurt of wilderness defiled?)

Social Notes for September

by Jo Van Sommers

*September 21 Tasmanian Wilderness Society Films:-
Blockade, a documentary of the activities against the damning of the Franklin, and Gordon Splits, a wander down that wild river.
September 23 Federation of Bushwalkers Ball.
Don't forget to keep Friday 23rd September free for the F.B.W. Ball (it's country dancing, really!).
September 28 Slides by Ralph Penglis on South America and other exotic places.

* Dinner before the meeting at Phuoung Vietnamese Restaurant, 87 Willoughby Road, Crow's Nest. B.Y.O. 6:30 pm sharp!

Arthur and Us - Part I

by Bill Gamble

In March, 1983, a club walk on the autumn programme went to Arthur's Pass National Park in New Zealand. Two members (Brian Holden and Bronwyn Stow) and a visitor (Steve Tramont) flew from Sydney to join the leader (Bill Gamble) for nine days of walking in the park. The introduction to the park and the first days of the walking are contained in the following article. A second article in a later issue of the magazine will cover the programmed walk in the Poulter Valley.

Arthur's Pass is to the Christchurch tramper what the Blue Mountains are to the Sydney bushwalker, a rugged area within easy reach for weekend trips leaving Friday evening after work: but, otherwise, quite different. These differences - the nature of Arthur's Pass National Park - are perhaps best summarised with an extract or two from the park handbook.

“The park is a rugged and mountainous area of about 100,000 hectares situated in the centre of the South Island (about 150 km west of Christchurch). It is a land of jagged skylines, tall snowy peaks and snowgrass-clad ridges, deep gorges, steep, bush-covered hillsides, sheer cliffs of angular black rock, high.waterfalls, wide shingle riverbeds and rushing torrents. The park is traversed by large rivers - on the east the Waimakariri and Poulter and their tributaries, the Taramakau and Otira and their tribularies on the west.

”… the area of mountain ridges above bushline approximately equals the forested area. From valley floors at about 700m on the east the peaks rise to 1800m or more, but the western valley floors lie at only about 300m or slightly more. From any of the high peaks there are views over ridge upon ridge of broken rock, with snowfields lying beneath them and deep-cut valleys below. Ten named peaks over 2100m in height and twenty-one over 1800m lie within the park.

“The main divide of the Southern Alps bisects the park and from it branch intricate ranges of mountains between the courses of the rivers…. Between the peaks are many passes, high and low, but nearly all of them difficult to cross. The western and eastern separation has a dominating influence on the character of the park; but the rugged terrain, the wide range of altitudes, the relatively severe mountain climate, the swift rivers and the passes all affect the nature of the park in various ways.”

Instead of going straight into the walk as programmed, our introduction to the park, as a party, was two days spent above Arthurs Pass itself, firstly on the east side in the Temple Basin and in the upper Mingha Valley, and then an the west side on the slopes of Mt Rolleston, 2271m. The leader had spent two days in the park on the previous weekend and proposed this change as a way of widening the scope of the walking to be done by the party. It proved to be an excellent beginning, in brilliantly fine weather immediately after snowfalls. The change was also partly due to recent alterations in the timetable for trains to and from the park, which had made impractical the use of public transport if full use was to be made of the days allotted for walking. The use of the leader's rental car to move the party from Christchurch to the park and back again kept the walking days to schedule and provided the sort of flexibility which members usually enjoy in their weekend walks out of Sydney.

Anyway, three of the party members arrived in Christchurch late on Wednesday afternoon, 16 March, on a cold, wet day (maximum 70 C) and were met b3 pm the storm had nearly reached the ridge and most of us stopped to don our rain gear. Shortly after the storm burst upon us with all its fury. First there came heavy torrential rain and lightning accompanied by a strong wind. Although I was protected by a parka my sleeping bag was in the haversack without a waterproof cover. Joyce came to the rescue with a large orange ground sheet which I held over my head and the haversack.

After what seemed hours the rain gave way to a hail storm. The hail pelted down, cutting the leaves and small twigs from the trees, changing the earthen path surroundings into a dark green carpet. Fifteen minutes later the green carpet had changed to a white one with hailstones 2“ deep underfoot. In a short time the temperature had dropped from 320 C to 150 C.

Mark had been caught by the rain in only singlet and shorts and his clothing was wet under his rain cape. A bout of shivering came on him. He realised that it was a malarial fever attack, a legacy of his earlier years in the tropical north of Queensland. We made room for Mark under the groundsheet and huddled close together trying to keep him warm.

The hail ceased after a while but a light drizzle had set in. We decided to push on and I picked up Mark's large haversack which contained our main supplies. Our conversation had turned to aborting the expedition via Xmas Creek because of Mark's condition and the weather.

The track had nearly been obliterated by the leaves and hailstones. The afternoon light was fading as we came to a large clearing. Pat was endeavouring to start a fire boy scout fashion, by setting small twigs and branches upright in the shape or an Indian wigwam with the fire underneath. The prospect looked very dismal for the campers because of a dark overcast sky, a chill penetrating wind and damp ground underfoot. The tents were pitched whilst some looked for suitable firewood and others volunteered to fetch water for the evening meal. These tasks proved to be very difficult as suitable fallen limbs were scarce and the creek was at the bottom of a steep, slippery slope.

After an hour the rain ceased. Mark seemed to have partly recovered. He looked rather odd in Mary's angora jumper. Pat had prepared a delicious tuna mornay which was wolfed down by the whole group. The first course was followed by tinned peaches and cream. Most of the campers slept that night in damp clothes with no chance of getting their belongings or sandshoes dry.

We awoke next morning at 6.30 in misty cold conditions to find that two ringtail possums had raided our muesli supply.

After breakfast the walkers were surprised to see Bill with his haversack on ready for departure. Without warning he bade us all goodbye. He gave no reason for his sudden decision to return home. My assumption from conversation I had with him over a two day period was that he did not feel safe in the Australian bush. He was familiar with the German and Swiss forests where there are well-marked tracks, shelter huts and roads and railways close by.

The party then proceeded down a steep gully to the Stinson wreck, where olive-green tubular steel trusses protruded from the undergrowth. One of the wheel struts lay nearby. Small pieces of broken window glass were found by one of the walkers. A plaque set in concrete marked the scene of the crash. The inscription read:- “This plaque marks the spot where the Stinson Airliner 'VH-UHH, City of Brisbane, crashed on 19-2-37 and where two survivors sat for 10 days until found by Bernard O'Reilly. We remember the Stinson - a pathfinder at the dawn of commercial aviation in Australia.”

A white wooden cross nearby was marked:- “In memoriam Capt. Rex Boyden died in Stinson crash 19-2-37.” Three smaller silver plaques set in stone and concrete were marked:- “Flying Officer Beverley Shepherd - William Walden, Fountain, New York - James Roland Graham, Sydney.”

Three passengers survived the crash - Westray, Bunstead and Proud. Westray, a young New Zealander, decided to go for help only to fall over a cliff and die in the bush. The other two survivors lived on the berries from the walking stick palm and water collected from Xmas Creek.

The papers of the day and the aviation authorities had given up the Stinson as lost. People had sighted what they thought to be the plane everywhere from the Queensland border to the Hawkesbury River.

After eight days and differing radio and press reports, Bernard O'Reilly contacted one of his neighbours who thought that the plane had crashed in the McPerson Ranges. O'Reilly decided that his neighbour's story was authentic, particularly as there had been no reports of the plane's arrival at Lismore Airport. O'Reilly produced an aerial survey map of the area and plotted destination lines on it. He deduced that the plane could have crashed on one of four high mountain ranges in the district.

He packed some supplies which consisted of bread and butter, onions, sugar and tea, and mounted his horse ready for the journey to Mount Bethongabel. Here he sent the mare home and proceeded by f6ot through the trackless jungle. On the morning of the second day O'Reilly was an the top of Mount Throakban looking out over the three remaining mountain ranges. Eight miles away on the third range, Lamington Plateau, he sighted a burnt out tree which confirmed his theory. Eight hours later he found the survivors who were in very poor condition, one of whom had a broken leg. With help from all over the district a rescue party was organised which cut a stretcher path through the forest. Bunstead and Proud were lifted out over the next two days. After returning to camp from the wreck we were able to see the stretcher track, approximately 4 feet wide, which is maintained free from undergrowth to this day.

Our party arrived at Tyalgum Valley Lookout at 9:30 where the hailstones on the track were thick underfoot. The track from here on became indistinct and we had to fan out many times to find one of the tree blazes. Wherever a break in the rain forest canopy occurred, the undergrowth was thick and tangled because of the life-accelerating effects of the sunlight. The undergrowth was wet and we had to stop at intervals to extricate ourselves from the lawyer vines that got caught in our clothing and flesh. This proved to be very painful at times, Allegedly lawyer vines were given this name by the early settlers because once they got their hooks into you you would never get them out.

We passed a number of antarctic beeches, a huge gnarled tree with buttressed arched roots that meet the trunk metres above the ground. These trees are thought to be thousands of years old and are a relic from a colder epoch. They usually occur at higher altitudes and are found in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand, South America and the New Guinea Highlands.

At one stage we became disoriented and found ourselves heading in the opposite direction to our compass course. The group had just passed through a cleft in two large rocks which Pat recognised from our earlier wanderings. The mistake was confirmed, by reference to the area map.

Some time after lunch the track became defined again and at 2:30 pm we arrived at a signpost which pointed to O'Gradys Creek. It was evident that we were leaving the rainforest area because of the stands of eucalypt trees that surrounded us. At 4:30 we arrived at O'Gradys Falls and stopped to admire the surrounding black and grey rock formations. Tall lilies grew on the edge of a large pool above the falls. These lilies known as Helm Holtzia have light and dark green stems on which grow profuse pink and white flowers.

At 5 pm the party emerged from the bush onto Forest Road. Here we were met by Peter Maxwell, a Forestry Commission Ranger. He drew the leaders aside and engaged them in earnest conversation. Pat later told us the story. Bill had assumed that we would get lost because of “poor leadership, inadequate maps and equipment”. He had raised the alarm on reaching civilisation and the Forestry Commission had been alerted.

That night we camped in cold, overcast conditions in a clearing at the Border Lookout.

The next morning we rejoined the mini-bus and were driven to the Tweed Valley Lookout, 940 metres above sea level. Here a notice proclaims: “We now saw the breakers again, their situation may always be found by the peaked mountain which bears SW by W from them and on their account I have named it Mt. Warning - Lt. Cook RN - 16 May 1770.”

We arrived at Kyogie at 1:45 and sat down to a counter lunch, a welcome change from our bush repasts At 5 pm we escorted Joyce to the railway station and climbed aboard the bus for our journey back to Brisbane.

Bush Walkers and the Big Bang

by Jim Brown

Of course;- bush walkers would never use explosives or fire-arms, would they? Never? Well, hardly ever….

This thinking was inspired by the quotation from Phil Butt in the “Sydney Morning Herald” - see the June issue of the magazine . Then I remembered that, if you go far enough back in the Club's history, you will find' stories of members. shooting wild duck on the Kowmung River to supplement the rations they h65. carried through.the granite gorges higher up. Oh, yes, and of course one of the early lady members carried a revolver as a protection against marauding- males….. not Club members, but the seedy itinerants who sometimes took to.the bush during the 1930s Depression years. In spite of the reputed permissiveness of more recent years, no one seems to think such a precaution necessary now. Maybe we really are better behaved after all.

But even in my time with the Club there have been walkers who were fascinated by the Big Bang. For some years there used to be a regular camp at Euroka Clearing in the Lower Blue Mountains (before there was a road there) on the weekend nearest to the 24th May (which used to be Empire Day - Cracker Night - in the days when there were still some vestiges of a British Empire,' my children). All comers brought their Catherine Wheels and Roman Candles, Port Lights and Rockets, and made the Blue Labyrinth resound on the Saturday evening.

On one occasion a lighted firework, thrown with small regard ,for the environment, landed in a cardboard box at the edge of the campfire area. The box contained a selection of rockets, most of which took off dn horizontal trajectories. One was alleged to have passed through an abdulled tent, happily without causing damage or injury. Thereafter, our favourite camping site at Euroka was. defined in the walks programmes as “Fireworks Ridge”.

In addition to those who were satisfied with commercial fireworks, there were others who liked louder noises. At a camp in 1952 (I think the Club's 25th Anniversary) some one let off an explosive device, occasioning.what might, be called in modern legal parlance_”publLa affront or alarm4-:- dff-be-ing-td1d:- not to do it again, the perpetrators displayed a suitably meek attitude, but countered with a proposal to blow up fallen trees which were causing serious bank erosion at Blue Gum Forest.

Being at the time the S.B.W. representative on the Blue Gum Trust, I undertook to put the proposal to the Trust. Admittedly, I did so with fingers crossed and uttering a small prayer. However, the idea was readily adopted, and on the weekend of 25/26 April, 1953, the dynamiters went into action. Actually, it was gelignite which was used and, because it is apparently sensitive stuff, it was claimed that some of the party cuddled up to it in their sleeping bags at the top of the Perry's Lookdown track on the Friday night. (Shades of the old drill sergeant rasping “Right t The rifle_is the,soIdier's - best friend. In very cold weather, or if anyone is likely to steal it, you WILL SLEEP with your rifle. After all, you'd sleep with your best friend, wouldn't you?”)

The Blue Gum affair wasn't quite as simple as it sounds. A drill was needed to burrow into'tfle hardened, saturated wood of the partially submerged logs and a chain block was used tb'Shift'sate Of the more massive lamps of timber. It was reCkbned at the time that Colin Putt, who carried the chain block, had a-load of.nearly 100.1bS -(about 44 Kg) on the way down to the forest. I think it was Peter Stitt who carried the petrol-engined drill, and he must have had 75 lbs (33.Kg).an his .back. Several times over the weekend the cry arose “To the hills:” as the 31 workers were cleared fromthe explosion area. ' . :

At one stage on the Sunday morning .a rumour Spread around “They've poured the jelly down Brian Andersons shorts”.- For a time Brian must have . .wondered if he had halitoSis, before it was explained that one of the girls had been trying to make edible jelly,, which wouldn't-set, and in a moment of devilment had poured the billy down. the back of Brian's shorts.

Honour - or the urge to make a big bang - must have been satisfied at Blue Gum. Although we had almost 50 people there for a. subsequent working bee in 1955 to consolidate the work on the “silt pack”, there were no. more loud noises. Our mantle passed to one of the Speliblogical Societies which was reported in 1955 to be using explosives to form a passage between two natural caves at Bungonia. Being reformed characters, we could afford to chuckle at Geoff Wagg's explanation in one of the Chronic Operas (to the tune of “For.he's gone and married Yum Yum” - from The Mikado):-

“Oh, we're going to make a big hole, big hole,
With Gelly and Poader, to make the noise louder
We'll very soon get to our goal….
We've explored every cave that is known, is known,
7th din everlasting and drilling and blasting
We're making .a few of our own

As Hamlet says with his last breath “The rest is silence”.

Continuing Education Programme, University of Sydney

Over the next few months several courses of lectures, discussions and outings are to be held by the University of Sydney in its Continuing Education Programme. Anyone over the age of 18 may enrol for these courses. Some of these courses may be of interest to people engaged in outdoor activities such as Bush Walking. Further information may be obtained by writing to the University or by phoning 692-2907.

Birds - 9 meetings $35.00. Tuesdays at 7 pm, commencing 6th September. Classification and distribution of birds, their habitats and breeding behaviour.

Bird-Watching Week-End - Oberon:State'Forest, Friday 14th October to Sunday 16th October. Basic accommodation at camps sleeping bags and similar equipment must be brought. Cost-$60.00.

Seashore Ecology - 6 meetings $45.00. Tuesdays at 6 pm, commencing 1st November. Study of animals and plant of NS.W. Seashore - life hiStorY, environments, behaviour-and interaction of these organisms.

Hill End - The Study of a Goldfield - October. Participants make food, accommodation. Study Cost $40.00. Week-end Saturday/Sunday 8/9th own arrangements for transport, of mining developments from 1851.

Anthropology - Aboriginal Art - 9 meetings, $30.00. Thursdays 10.30 am from September 8th. Survey of aboriginal rock carvings, painting and bark art.

Congratulations to Margaret and Bob Hodgson on the birth of their first child, a daughter,Jennifer Louise, last month.

Federation of Bushwalkers Ball 1983

Let's put our dancing shoes on and get together for the Bushwalkers Ball (it's country dancing, really).

Date: Friday, 23rd Saptember 1983.

Longueville Road, entrance in Phoenix Street. Council car park at rear and in Little Street. |

Time: 8 pm
Cost: $7.00 single - B.Y.O. + Plate
Dress: Casual or semi-formal (whatever you fancy!)
Denise Shaw - phone 922-6093.(H).

The tickets will also be on sale in the clubroom.

We would like S.B.W. to be represented by a large, lively, funloving group this year. You don't need a partner - just come along and join our table. There's a prize for the best decorated table, so let's have your ideas:

Walks Note

Gordon Lee, following a recent walk in the Budawangs area, reports that Sluice Box Falls on Kilpatrick Creek, are not shown on the new Endrick 1:25000 map in the correct location.


Half-Yearly General Meeting

The Sydney Bush Walkers (Founded 1927) G.P.O. Box 4476 Sydney N.S.W. 2001

Notice is hereby given that the half-yearly General Meeting of the Sydney Bush Walkers will be held on Wednesday, 7th September, 1983, at the Cahill Community Centre, 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest, commencing at 8:00 pm.


  1. Apologies
  2. Welcome to new members
  3. Minutes of the General Meeting held on Wednesday, 10th August, 1983
  4. Correspondence
  5. Reports: Treasurer; Talks; Federation; Coolana.
  6. Determination of the site for the 1984.Annual Reunion
  7. Election of a convenor for the 1984 Annual Reunion
  8. General Business
  9. Announcements

Barbara Bruce Honorary Secretary.

No notices of Amendments to the Constitution have been received. 15th August, 1983.

198308.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/25 15:22 by kclacher

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